Renting a car offers high flexibility and freedom when you travel throughout the world and especially in islands, where means of transportation (bus lines etc) are not the best way to get around.
However, car rental may add a complexity to your journey and instead of being a way to make your life easier, it can lead to a total inconvenience. For example, you may try to find the lowest price when you choose a car rental company, the cheapest insurance service or which office will cover you for any tour within the area you travel.
Car Rental: What car do you need?
So, let’s get down to the point.
Read the following useful tips and save time and money. This guide includes 8 car rental tips and is exclusively designed for anyone who needs help during his business trip or holiday, so that you do not have to bear a concern about the rental of a car and avoid any potential problem that will destroy your trip.
TIP no1: Rent a car with low fuel consumption in case you will travel enough within your destination
Initially, you have to think about the type of car you need. If you travel with children, you will not need a fast car as you should not search for high speed. If you just want to save money or you plan to make long trips within your journey location, then it will be also significant to choose a car that does not have a high fuel consumption. So, choose a small model that will be ideal in case you travel more and will not add an extra cost of high fuel consumption.
Are you environmentally sensitive? Then you may need to choose an environmental friendly car. Many car rental companies offer hybrid cars or cars with very low emissions. Also, you may be used to drive an automatic car. Turning to a car with manual transmission maybe a major problem that will disrupt you and will affect your mood in a negative way.
However, the size of the car and the fuel consumption are not the only important factors before you rent a car.
TIP no2: Think about the place you are going to visit and its special geolocation features
Also, bear in mind that the place you are going to visit will not have the same road network as your own city or neighborhood. In case of an island, the roads will be narrow, full of multiple turns and maybe not so well maintained. So, maybe a luxury car would not be the ideal choice. Just get more information about the place you are going to visit before you land there. Nowadays, it is an easy task as Internet is full of relevant information, especially regarding travel guides and reviews of locations.
Moreover, ensure that the company from which you are going to rent your car will offer to you all necessary equipment, such as seat belts for children, ski equipment, helmets in case of a bike, buggy or atv rental and a map guide for your journey.
Tip no3: Not only compare prices but also focus on real-time service
It is sure that you will find a bunch of choices in case you try to book a car online. However, keep in mind that depending on your final destination, local offices can in most cases offer better and lower prices than online global services. Also, local offices will offer you a much better service as there will be for sure an official representative near your location who will be responsible for you and will offer some help when a problem arises.
Don’t just read about the services a company offers. Make a phone call to them or send an e-mail. Also, take a look at some real reviews of other users who rented a car or other vehicle in the past so as to get real feedback about the office and the quality standards of its services.
In any case, we would suggest not to search only from global search engines but also visit the websites of local car rental companies, as they usually offer much better services at a lower cost. To make it better, they also run seasonal discount deals during specific time intervals and you can get a benefit in order to afford a cheaper holiday or business trip.
Before you rent a car online, you should of course seek for the best price.
But keep in mind that the lowest price maybe a simple trick. You already are aware of the fact that cheaper is not always the better. In any case, you should take into account many different parameters before you rent a car and compare prices in relation to the services and the extra amenities included.
Tip no4: Consider the extra amenities of your car rental
Let’s suppose that you are ready to rent a car online. Then, just read carefully about all the services the car rental company provides. Before you book online, you could just make a phone call to ensure about the services and if there are extra charges that are not mentioned in the website or the leaflet you are reading. It is crucial to get some clear and robust answers regarding the extra charge in case of more than one driver or if your 20 years old son will be permitted to drive the car or not.
For your own cover, in case something goes wrong or your car gets spoilt, be sure that the car rental office will be close to you so as to fix the problem or offer a new one in order to go on with your turn around and not spoil your trip to the place.
Tip no5: Calculate local taxes and think about hidden costs
You should be aware that the prices mentioned in some websites may not be the final prices you are going to pay for. That’s because some companies will make the trick not show to you the final price until you reach to the place and have already booked the car. You have to check that the prices you see in the website are the final prices including all relevant local taxes. You will not be very happy in case you realize that you have to pay more than you booked through the website of the car rental company and it will be a big surprise.
Moreover, think about the cost of extra drivers which maybe is not included in the price and will add to you an extra cost. Don’t just stick to an online advertisement or a brochure that promises the lowest prices you can get for your destination! Be skeptical about any hidden costs, trying to make it clear which is the final price and what is not included in the price you will pay finally.
So, which are these hidden costs?
Insurance cost: One of the most common hidden cost is the insurance cost of your car. Usually, it is mentioned as Collision Damage Cost.
Fuel consumption cost: In the most cases, you will take your car with a full tank. But how will you let it back to the rental office? Are you obliged to get it back with a full tank too or not? Ensure that it is not in your obligation to return the car exactly at the same condition regarding the tank capacity.
Also, take into account that in case you do not use some fuel, you maybe will not get compensated for it.
Drop Off charge. A common hidden cost is the drop off charge. It varies depending on the location and the distance that you will leave the car. Maybe you will not be charged at all, but talk about it with your car rental company before you rent your car. Pick up and drop off is usually free cost, but just get more information about it.
Most car rental companies offer unlimited kilometers within your location, city or island. But as any other hidden cost, just clarify it before you hire your car.
Adding more than one drivers has an extra cost. However, there are some rental companies that accept up to 2 drivers, so you will not have to bear an extra cost for it. There will always be some extra fees for children seats or for helmets etc.
You maybe find all the above information in the website of the company and you will not need to be anxious about it. So, you can make a safe trip and rent your car bearing in mind all the relevant costs, extra amenities and taxes at the time you book your car online.
Tip no6: Check if pick up and drop off location are included in the price you book the car
Some car rental companies may add a charge in case you have to pick up the car from a different location than the one they provide it. In case you have to pick up the car from the airport, but you are not close to it, the rental office may charge you for transferring the car to your location. So, be careful about the location a company is going to pick you up. There are offices that will pick you up from any place (e.g. within an island) and of course you should prefer to rent a car from an office that will not add an extra charge for it.
When you reach at your destination, you will probably arrive at the port or the airport, or even in a hotel. Take care so that the car you have rented will be there for you so as to get it immediately. It is essential to check if the car rental office offers a 24 hour service. In other case, you should arrange the time of your arrival according to the car rental office’s arrangements or just spend some more time to wait for the car.
Tip no7: Inspect the car in detail before you start your trip
When you pick up the car you have hired, check it immediately for any damage or collision. Ensure that the lights turn on and the flash indicators work properly. Also, check the km meters. Mention immediately any damage you have found and do not accept to get the car in case it does not meet the quality standards of the model you booked online. Make sure that all suspicious markings are noted before you take the car anywhere.
Familiarize with the car before you leave the pickup location. It also maybe sounds a bit funny, but memorize the model, the color and the number of the car so that you remember it the first time you will park it at an unknown road.
Tip No8: Clarify the condition in which you have to return the car to the car rental office
As we mentioned earlier, you will have to take care so that to know if you have to return the car with a full tank or not. Try to avoid the fuel stations that are located near the port or the airport as in most cases they are more expensive than other fuels stations within the city or the island.
Also, you have to ask about the time you have to return your car and the exact drop-off location. Be sure about the time of the day you have to return the car and the location, so that you will not have to afford extra costs for extra time or for extra location cost.
Finally, before you leave the care, take a look to ensure that you have taken all your personal items with you. Things we forget about the most is a small bag, sunglasses, wallet or a smartphone.
If you have made a damage to the car, check the insurance coverage and if you should be charged extra fees that are not covered from your insurance.